Members of the emergency services wait outside a metro
station following an accident on the subway in Moscow.
Photo by Reuters
At least 20 people were killed and more than 120 were
injured when a Moscow underground train derailed during the
morning rush hour in one of the worst accidents on the Russian
capital's subway system in years.
President Vladimir Putin, who is away in Brazil, ordered a
criminal investigation into the accident, which is likely to
raise further questions over Russia's transport safety
record. There was no suspicion of a militant attack - the
cause of scores of deaths in Moscow's subway system in years
Three carriages derailed on a train travelling between two
stations at 70kmh at around 8.35am (local time) on the
world's busiest subway system.
"It braked very hard. The lights went off and there was lots
of smoke," a man, his nose bloodied, told Rossiya-24
"We were trapped and only got out by some miracle. I thought
it was the end. Many people were hurt, mostly in the first
rail car because the cars ran into each other."
Rescue workers evacuated more than 1,000 people from the area
of the accident, the Emergencies Ministry said. Injured
passengers were carried on stretchers, bloodied and bandaged,
out of both metro stations.
Helicopters ferried the most seriously hurt to hospital and
passengers helped to the surface by emergency services looked
stunned or were crying.
"There is no one alive left," Moscow deputy mayor Peter
Biryukov said. "The cause is not known, the work continues."
Some bodies were recovered from the wreckage but others
remained underground, crushed in the accident, he said.
The Investigative Committee put the toll at 20 dead. Russian
news agency Itar-Tass quoted Health Ministry representative
Oleg Salagai as saying that 129 people were injured, 42 of
whom were in a serious condition.
NO SUSPICION OF MILITANT ATTACK
The Investigative Committee, which answers to Putin, said it
had opened a criminal case on suspicion of failure to meet
safety guidelines but that it had not yet determined the
cause of the accident, although no militant involvement was
A power surge may have caused the train to stall and several
cars to come off the rails between the Slaviansky Boulevard
and Park Pobedy stations, the Investigative Committee said.
Russians regularly criticise the country's transport safety
record. Recent disasters included the 2011 sinking of a ferry
boat that killed 128 and an airplane crash that killed the
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team the same year, both of
which were blamed on lax safety regulations and technical
On weekdays as many as 9 million people use the subway
Famed for its high-vaulted halls adorned with Soviet
socialist realist art, the underground network has expanded
from 13 stations opened in 1935 to 194 stations across the
Islamist militants have previously carried out deadly attacks
in Moscow, including twin suicide bombings that killed 40
people on the subway in 2010.